Samsung TL220 Review
|Full model name:||Samsung TL220|
|Dimensions:||3.9 x 2.4 x 0.7 in.
(100 x 60 x 19 mm)
|Weight:||5.3 oz (149 g)|
The Samsung TL220 features a 12.2 megapixel 1/2.33" CCD image sensor behind a Schneider Kreuznach Varioplan-branded 4.6x optical zoom lens. The TL220's lens has actual focal lengths of 4.9 - 22.5mm, and 35mm-equivalent focal lengths of 27mm - 124mm - a generous wide angle through to a moderate telephoto. Maximum aperture varies from F3.5 to F5.9 across the zoom range. The TL220's lens includes optical image stabilization, which should help reduce the likelihood of blur caused by camera shake, as part of what Samsung terms "Dual Image Stabilization". The other part of the function is Digital Image Stabilization, which combats blur using the camera's firmware, automatically raising the camera's ISO sensitivity (and noise levels) as needed.
There's no optical viewfinder, with images being framed on a 3.0-inch LCD display with 230,000 dots of resolution, fairly standard resolution for a display of this size. The display dominates most of the camera's rear surface, and features a touch panel through which most control is achieved. The Samsung TL220 offers what Samsung calls a "Smart Gesture" user interface; when specific gestures are traced with a fingertip on the touch panel, the camera recognizes and responds appropriately. For example, tracing your finger in a cross mark on the screen will delete the current photo, while tracing a circle will instead rotate it. To switch between photos, you simply drag your finger to one side across the panel. In addition, the Samsung TL220 include an orientation sensor, and allows switching between photos by tilting the camera body to one side or other. The LCD touch panel is also used in record mode, with a tap of the finger on your subject being all that's needed to manually set the focus point. Holding your finger over the subject for two seconds will set focus and then trigger the shutter; alternatively you can press the shutter button immediately after focus lock is achieved.
A particularly unusual feature of the Samsung TL220 is that in addition to the main, rear-panel LCD display, it also includes a secondary color LCD on the camera's front surface adjacent to the lens. Samsung describes this display as being "hidden", presumably matching the texture and color of the surrounding camera body; a tap of the finger on the display brings it to life. It serves as an alternative to the articulated displays found on some cameras, which can often be tilted and/or swiveled so as to allow them to be seen from in front of the lens - useful for self portraits and group shots using a timer. The dual-display approach offers an advantage over such designs in that there's no need for a potentially fragile tilt/swivel mechanism. On the other hand though, it doesn't allow the LCD screen to be protected from damage by folding it inwards as can be done with a tilt/swivel display - and indeed, there's now twice as many displays risking damage from a knock or scrape. The front-panel display is also significantly smaller and lower resolution, at just 1.5-inch diagonal and 61,000 dots (ie. somewhere in the region of QVGA). Samsung isn't just using the front-panel display to allow framing of self-portraits and images using the timer, incidentally. A few other uses include a countdown display for timer shots (ensuring everybody knows when to smile), a "smiley face" icon displayed when smile shutter is being used, and a display of certain key setup variables such as flash or macro modes via icons. Perhaps most unusually, the front display can show a brief animation when the camera is in Children mode, intended to catch your child's attention so they look directly at the camera while their photo is taken.
The Samsung TL220 includes face detection capability with both smile and blink detection functions, which can be used to automatically capture a photo when everyone's smiling, and then retake the image if anybody blinks. There's also a "Beauty Shot" mode which smooths skin tones on detected faces, and offers three user-selected levels of smoothing. The face detection is also used to offer a Red-Eye Fix function which automatically locates and corrects for this common image defect. In addition, the TL220 includes Smart Face Recognition technology, which allows twenty individuals' faces to be registered in-camera and then recognized in subsequent shots. Once identified, those individuals' faces will be given priority over unrecognized faces in the scene when determining exposure variables, and can also be searched for in the Smart Album playback mode. The Samsung TL220 also has a generous selection of scene modes aimed at keeping things approachable for beginner photographers while still offering a degree of control over images, plus a Smart Auto mode which automatically selects one of 16 scene modes as appropriate to the current scene.
The Samsung TL220 has the ability to record standard or high definition movies with sound at 30 frames per second in H.264 format, with a maximum resolution of 720p (1280 x 720 pixels). Connectivity options include HDMI video via an optionally available adapter allowing the camera to be connected to the latest high-definition displays. Alternatively, the TL220 includes standard definition NTSC / PAL video output. Power comes courtesy of a proprietary SLB-07A Lithium Ion rechargeable battery. The Samsung TL220 stores images on the tiny MicroSD / MicroSDHC card format, or in 55MB of built-in memory.
The Samsung TL220 ships from September 2009, with pricing set at about $300.
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